Crossing the W.R. Bennett Bridge, it was a feeling of exhilaration Tim Dickinson had never before experienced.
At 11:45 p.m. last Sunday, the 41-year-old runner from West Kelowna officially became the first man to circumnavigate the 320-kilometre trek around Okanagan Lake by foot.
“I could barely contain my emotion,” Dickinson said of his journey around the lake. “It’s probably the best feeling I’ve ever had. It was a huge feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.”
An avid runner since he was a kid growing up in Naramata, Dickinson didn’t take on the challenge for charity or any other cause—it was simply on his “bucket list.”
The odyssey, which began at Kelowna City Park on Friday at 8 a.m., took him to the Westside, north to Vernon, back along the eastern shore through Okanagan Mountain Park and Penticton, then north again back to Kelowna.
Dickinson slotted in 11 hours of sleeping time, but used up only about six hours, first resting in his dad’s trailer, then spending a few more hours in slumber at a friend’s house.
In the end—sore and tired, but elated—Dickinson navigated the circumference of Okanagan Lake in 63 hours 45 minutes.
An experienced ultra trail runner, he has been asked on more than one occasion why he runs and why he would tackle a challenge as seemingly daunting as the one just completed.
For Dickinson, it’s all about his quality of life, both mentally and physically.
“I do it to help with mental health, just my outlook on life,” said Dickinson. “Obviously it has health benefits, but I just love running, it gives me a feeling of freedom.”
Dickinson isn’t sure what journey he’ll take on next or what toll it may take on his body, but is relatively certain “his brain will keep pushing” him to add more challenges to his bucket list.
While Dickinson was the first man to circumnavigate the lake, mostly by running, West Kelowna’s Sheila Paynter was the first person to perform the feat, completing in the journey in 24 days in the late 1980s.
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